The Evil King John

King John of England(1167-1216) was undoubtedly the worst King of Medieval Europe. He was notorious for the numerous wars he fought - and failed. He also made history by becoming the first King who got excommunicated by the English Church. Lastly, he signed the Magna Carta, a document to appease his rebelling barons which became one of the most significant documents of English history today.

Studying King John gives us an insight to the cracks of the feudalism system of Medieval Europe and also helps us better understand the power struggle between the English Church and Monarchs at that time. King John is an important figure in history as he is the reason for the Magna Carta, a document which established the principle of rights to justice.

Follow King John’s Instagram account @KingJohnUGC111 to discover his eventful journey as a King. He wrote about significant events which occurred during his years and included his thoughts and feelings about them. *Disclaimer: The events which occurred are factual, however, the style of writing is fictional and meant for entertainment purposes.

 

King John's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingjohnugc111/

Below is the background description of each post.

Post 1: This post shows how King John was disregarded by the family, and overshadowed by the brother. This post also talks about one of his historically recorded fails, his first expedition to Ireland.

Post 2: The second post highlights the events that lead to John’s final ascent on the throne. He tried to take over his brother, King Richard when Richard was being captured by Germans but failed and an angry Richard banished him upon return but was swiftly forgiven. Originally Richard appointed his nephew, Arthur as heir but changed it to John instead when Arthur was being captured by King Phillip II of France. This made it possible for John to become King when Richard died in 1199.

Post 3: One of the greatest challenges of King John’s reign was his dispute with King Phillip II of France. This post emphasises the causes of the dispute and the repercussions that it had on King John. Most of all, this post presented some of the reasons why he had to implement income based taxes on his people.

Post 4: Another important figure that King John had a dispute with was Pope Innocent III. We think that this incident with the Pope is another great way to present King John’s poor decision making and the power struggle between him and the church. Not only did he challenge other countries, but even a religious institution under him.

Post 5: On 15 June 1215, King John signed the Magna Carta, also known as the Great Charter. The Magna Carta was a document drawn up by the barons who rebelled against King John because he had demanded heavy taxes repeatedly to fund his unsuccessful wars with France. The document was drafted to safeguard their rights and to put limitations on the power of the crown.

Post 6: King John had no intentions to keep his word even after signing the Magna Carta. He clashed with the barons again 3 months later and they threatened to remove him from his position. This sparked the first baron's war which lasted from September 1215 to March 1216. 

Post 7: On May 21, 1216, Prince Louis of France decided to invade England. King John decided not to send his forces to fight with Prince Louis at that point of time as he was afraid that his forces might turn on him and led him to lose as a result. The post shows the process on how he handled the war with his defensive strategies.

Post 8: King John contracted a severe illness which eventually led to his death on October 19, 1216. King John decided that he will appoint his elder son, Henry, who was nine years at that point of time, to be the heir to his throne.

IMAGE CREDITS

Post 1: Matthew Paris, Portrait of King John of England, 2011. Public Domain

Post 2: Unknown, Portrait of King Richard III, 2009. Public Domain

Post 3: Horace Vernet, Battle of Bouvines, 2015. Public Domain

Post 4: Artaud de Montor, Pope Innocent III, 2016. Public Domain

Post 5: J.delanoy, Magna Carta, 2009. Public Domain

Post 6: James William Edmund Doyle, King John signs the Magna Carta, 2010. Public Domain

Post 7: Chroniques de Saint-Denis, John of England vs Louis VIII of France, 2011. Public Domain

Post 8: Matthew Paris, Coronation of Henry the Young King, 2014. Public Domain

 

REFERENCES

 

Appleby, John Tate. (1959). John, King of England. HathiTrust

BBC - History. (n.d.).  Historic Figures: John (c.1167 - 1216).

British Library. (n.d.). English translation of Magna Carta.

Church, Stephen Church. (2015). King John. Boulder: Basic Books.

Glenn, Justin. (2014). The Washingtons: A Family History: Volume 3: Royal Descents of the Presidential Branch. Savas Publishing, p139.

Metzger, Scott Alan. (2010). Magna Carta: Teaching Medieval Topics for Historical Significance. The History Teacher, 43(3), 345-356.

Sommerville, Johann. (n.d.). The crisis of John's reign.

The Old Currency Exchange. (2015). John’s 1st Expedition to Ireland (as Lord of Ireland, 1185).

Trueman, Chris. (2016). King John. The History Learning Site.

Warren, Wilfred Lewis. (1978). King John. University of California Press, p1167-1216.